How I just completed 100 straight days of yoga

yogaJust two weeks ago, I completed 100 days straight of yoga. In addition to meeting a lot of great people at the studios and feeling better than ever physically, I also had the chance to see first-hand how much change can come from doing anything, but especially yoga, for 100 days in a row.

I remember when I decided to go to my first class like it was yesterday.

It was just after lunch on a Tuesday afternoon in August. I was taking a break outside of my office, and I get a text from my one of my really good friends, Ruby, asking if I wanted to try out her new yoga studio, Core Power Yoga. I had enjoyed doing yoga a few years before, so I said “Sure”. Work was busy that week, so I didn’t go that day or the next. But after a few texts and reminders throughout the week, I finally “caved in” and agreed to go to a class Sunday night.

We went to a C2 class, which at the studio is a Power Yoga/Vinyasa class.  Ironically it turns out, that the class/instructor became one of my favorites months later, and her Sunday evening class is a staple in my routine today.

“What a remarkable class” I thought to myself after the class. I felt more energized and excited about the class than any of my other workouts at the gym.  So I figured I’d make good use of my free week and go every day to maximize the experience. My friend Ruby came as well, and eventually one class turned into one week, which turned into a trial membership, which turned into finishing the 30 Classes in 40 Days Challenge (except I did it in 24 days), which eventually turned into 100 days.

The first reaction people usually have is “WOW!” and “What kind of yoga?” Students, athletes, friends and yoga instructors alike have pretty much had the same reaction and found it pretty cool. Except one of my instructors who immediately told me she did 108 … and here I was hoping to impress her.

100 days was not the initial goal. In fact, I did not start with a goal at all. It was initially just making use of my free week, and then hitting the 30 classes in 24 days so I could have a chance to win a free gift from the studio. But the change I felt, even in the first few weeks led to a lot more than that.


It’s extraordinary to know what change can come from doing anything (but especially yoga) consistently – the progress, patience, connection and persistence – but the change that comes after one hundred days is profound.

Upon reflection, here are a few of the lessons I learned from the experience:


Making Time

At the onset, my first thought was “things are pretty busy”, hopefully I can fit a few classes in. After all, I am an M&A lawyer at a large law firm in Chicago. But after a week or two, things changed. I started planning my schedule around going to the studio. I went at 6am on many days as well after 8pm on many days (after getting to work before 7am). In the beginning it was a little bit of a juggling act and I had to make lots of adjustments to make my schedule work. But eventually, it became a habit and was easier, more seamless, and more exciting than on day one.

More than creating a habit, it also helped to build in the ability to schedule things when you’re busy, to prioritize what you care about and find time even when you don’t have time. Studies are very clear that some of the most successful people in the planet (world class CEOs, entrepreneurs and politicians) do that  They get up at 5am and find time to do things like exercising before most of the world is awake.

The Process of Progress

When I first decided to practice yoga daily, I knew I’d improve physically, but the physical benefits were far more immense than I first thought. The aha moments really kicked in right around the three weeks in, when I started realizing I could do things that were totally new. Getting better inch by inch.  Holidng poses longer.  Sliding into poses I never imagined.  And conquering the fear that comes from poses that look impossible.  It’s like a coder who finally gets learns HTML, then Java, then coding platforms like JoomLa, and then gets her new URL to go live. Or the applicant who finally gets a few more questions correct, and then a few more, while studying for the GMAT, and after scoring a 620, 650, 670 and 690, finally hits a 740 on the exam. In the end, you keep record of what you’ve achieved and start to appreciate small but important amounts of success.

But more important than any physical progress was the mental benefits that came with the physical ones. The fact that little things didn’t seem to get to me as much. That I had more mental energy and focus throughout the day. That things were more clear and I was more decisive and calm. Seeing the progression of these benefits has been extraordinary.


The process of being persistent has also been a really big benefit. Like studying for the GMAT/LSAT, preparing for the bar exam or doing anything new but difficult. These things all take persistence to get through. The ability to push yourself to new levels constantly.  And just when you reach the goal you’ve set, you have to do it again on another topic. But mixing in the physical element makes everything even more complex. During the process many things happen: you learn to become OK with where you are, you keep record of your improvements, and start making smaller incremental goals of what you want to achieve. Meanwhile, pretenses about how good you are go away. You learn how to be OK with where you are, even if it’s not where you want to be. Or even if it’s not as good as you were yesterday.  You stop comparing yourself to other people around you.  And in the end, you become far more aware of where you want to go and what it will take to get there than ever before. These feelings help you to continue persisting not just through a class but also throughout the month and for the entire 100 days.

Finding your edge (See my blog post on this)

In yoga one of the most important parts of practice is finding your edge. That means understanding just how far to go into a pose. Because if you don’t go far enough, then you won’t be challenged, you won’t get the full stretch, and as a result you won’t get the open heart, mind or body that you want. On the other hand if you go too far, that increases not just the pain but also the possibility of injury. And it’s more likely than not that you won’t make it through the full class. Somewhere between these two points is the perfect balance: your “edge.” One of my favorite instructors, Yasemin, talked about this in two classes, and I thought the idea was spot on.

Embracing the Pain (See my blog post on this)

In yoga another important part of practice is the ability to embrace the pain. In yoga, you feel the pain in the class, especially when you’re new or challenge yourself to go further. But by the end you feel more flexible and stronger, and at the end of class, feel like you can do anything. In sports, the same thing is true. Through the pain that comes with training you get better. And if you embrace it, you’ll get faster, jump higher and perform better when the game starts. In life, pain helps you learn to endure failure, learn how to make better choices, and learn how to stand up and fight back the next time around. In the end, yoga, like anything else, takes work to do well. But 100 days later, the work becomes more fun and the benefits are outsized if you can embrace the pain along the way.


More than anything, the last 100 days is about change.  Changing how you prioritize your activities. Understanding that you can change your body and your mindset with persistence and focus. Changing what you believe, and understanding that what seems impossible at first doesn’t have to be.

With that said, I’ve decided that I’ll be doing it again in the next few weeks. Maybe 108 days this time to match my instructor.

Anyone interested in joining?


Thursday, December 12th, 2013 Leadership, Yoga

8 Comments to How I just completed 100 straight days of yoga

December 15, 2013

100 days = devotion, persistence, and passion. Congrats, it’s inspiring! I start 108 (the Ultimate Yogi program) on Jan 1 – you in?

Jeremy C Wilson
December 15, 2013

@Yasemin You rock! Thanks so much for finding my blog and for commenting! Definitely in for January 1. You’ll have to tell me more about the program. It sounds awesome!

[…] I hear people talk about these questions all the time. And often times, I like to bring up the topics in my small group sessions I do.  Often times, I’ll share my experiences with them and one of them is from my recent time of doing 100 days of yoga. […]

[…] committing to doing things up front does wonders. I recently did my first 100 days of yoga at the end of 2013.  Within a week I knew I wouldn’t be giving it up anytime soon and […]

February 6, 2014

[…] committing to doing things up front does wonders. I recently did my first 100 days of yoga at the end of 2013.  Within a week of starting, I knew I wouldn’t be giving it up anytime soon […]

[…] committing to doing things up front does wonders. I recently did my first 100 days of yoga at the end of 2013. Within a week of starting, I knew I wouldn’t be giving it up anytime soon and […]

[…]   But at some point, I realized that the hardest part is making up my mind. I remember when I did 100 days of yoga in 2013. The first 75 days were hard. I scrambled to the studio most days, barely made it into class and […]

[…]   But at some point, I realized that the hardest part is making up my mind. I remember when I did 100 days of yoga in 2013.  The first 75 days were difficult. I scrambled to the studio most days, barely made it into class […]

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.


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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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